Whether a famous painting originally owned by a missing Chinese businessman was sold from a state-owned auction house in Beijing for RMB 38 million ($ 6 million) and her property was forcibly liquidated. Questions were raised.
Entrepreneur Duang Wei Hong, also known as Whitney, who was near the family of former Prime Minister Wen Jiabao, paid $ 5 million for the 2012 oil painting “Prayer” by former Prime Minister Zeng Fanzhi. husband.
of Red rouletteDesmond Siam described Duane as “one of the patrons of Zeng” who competed with rival collector François Pinault, a French luxury tycoon, for his art. According to Shum, Duan was originally intended to house Zeng’s paintings and other works in the development of a luxury hotel in Beijing.
“She didn’t just buy Zeng’s work,” said a person near the artist. “She was also one of his biggest supporters.”
The artwork will be on Thursday night from the auctioneer’s initial estimate of RMB 8 million to RMB 16 million ($ 1.3 million to $ 2.5 million) by the Beijing Poly International Auction, a division of the state-owned Chinapoli Group. ) Was sold to unidentified buyers at a much higher price. Pori described the seller as an “important institution,” but refused to comment further on the source of the painting.
Siam, who lives in the UK, said, “I’m very sorry” when I learned that “prayer” was for sale. “It’s a great picture,” he added.
Duane disappeared in 2017 as part of an investigation into Sun Zhengcai, another senior politician she raised on the surface. Formerly the youngest member of the Chinese Communist Party’s 25 Politburo, Sun was considered a successor to President Xi Jinping until his arrest in 2017. He was sentenced to life in prison a year later on suspicion of corruption.
Duane’s detention has never been confirmed by government or political party investigators. She resurfaced temporarily when she called Siam in September and urged him not to publish a book about dealings with the Wen family, Sun, and other party elites.
Siam said at the time that Duane was forced to make a phone call and believed he was not free.
It was not possible to ask Duane for comment on the sale of the painting, which was first reported by The Art Newspaper. Zeng did not respond to the request for comment.
Demand for Zeng’s work has cooled over the last decade. But on Monday, Beijing-based artists will be the 10th hottest artists in the world by the Hurun Report, which tracks the wealth of China’s wealthiest entrepreneurs based on total $ 39.3 million in work sales in 2020. Was ranked as.
On Wednesday, another Zeng piece, “This Land So Rich in Beauty No 2,” was priced at HK $ 40 million ($ 5.1 million), well above the initial estimates of HK $ 10 million to HK $ 20 million. It was sold.
It is not uncommon for prominent Chinese entrepreneurs to be at legal risk and later emerge with little loss of wealth. However, the risk is greater for lesser-known people who have close business relationships with the family of the elite party.
Financier Xiao Jianhua hasn’t been seen since Chinese police kidnapped him at a luxury hotel in Hong Kong in 2017 and cheered him across the border with mainland China. His detention has never been confirmed by government or political parties, and his financial empire was dismantled by regulators last year.
Additional report by Emma Zhou in Beijing